Police fear clashes this weekend among rival Brighton protesters

Posted On 21 Apr 2011 at 11:55 pm

Rival demonstrations are planned for Brighton at the weekend and police are concerned that the two groups may clash.

On Sunday (24 April) a fourth March for England protest is being held in the town.

At the same time a counter-protest is being planned by a number of opposing groups.

Superintendent Steve Whitton, of Sussex Police, said: “We have been in discussion with the organiser for the March for England and have agreed the planned route to Victoria Gardens where speeches will be held.

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“Engagement with opposing groups has been limited but we will continue to try to identify organisers to establish their intentions on the day.

“This will assist us in minimising the disruption to the city and facilitate the right of all those involved to peacefully protest.

“I want to reassure the local community that Sussex Police is working closely with partner agencies in order to make sure it is business as usual in the city.

“We do not anticipate local businesses having to close down during the event.

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“We have, however, expressed our view to the organisers that businesses are already suffering due to the recession.

“Ordinary business being disrupted will have untold impact on those already struggling financially.

“As in previous protest marches some disruption is inevitable, particularly if both protest groups rendezvous at Brighton Railway Station and when the marches finish at Victoria Gardens.

“I would encourage any counter protests to go to Victoria Gardens as, for safety reasons, we will be restricting numbers at the railway station.

“We are working closely with British Transport Police and Brighton and Hove Bus Company to ensure minimum impact on the travel infrastructure in the city.

“Our officers are advising local residents, businesses and those planning a shopping day in Brighton that certain areas may experience some temporary disruption as the march follows their proposed route.


“However, officers will continue to liaise with the community before and during the protest and we will be providing live updates on Twitter and Sussex Police website.

“Finally, I would like to reiterate that Sussex Police’s role is to maintain the peace while allowing lawful protest, minimising disruption to the city, local communities and businesses, preventing crime and disorder and providing a safe and secure environment for the protestors and the surrounding community.

“I am concerned that there will be  people who attend this event whose intention is not to peacefully protest and whose behaviour will go beyond that which is acceptable.

“The policing response will be firm but fair as I don’t want those who protest peacefully and within the law to be disproportionately affected by those who do not.”

Brighton Trades Council said that it would be giving it backing to the organisers of the Unite Against Facism counter-protest.

The trades council set out its support at the In Defence Of Mulitculturalism public meeting on Tuesday April 5 at the Friends Meeting House on Tuesday 5 April.

It said that the meeting was violently attacked by members of the English Defence League.

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